Sunday, August 3, 2008

Reading required on my terms

I have been reading Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and I'm finding it a hilarious read. As usual, late to the party I am. The book has been out for y-e-a-r-s, and I'm just getting around to reading it. A friend of my daughter's had brought it over along with a bag of other science-fiction novels that she had no interest in reading. Pity, her. So, looking for something to read, I helped myself.

I am finding that it's one of those few books where I'll be reading along, then find myself bursting out laughing (well, really, the closest I get to "LOL", is a stifled "snorf"). It's as if the story is being played in my head, full sound, and the narration sounds oddly like a Monty Python skit. Michael Palin, to be precise. I wonder why I waited so long to read the novel. Oh, probably I was busy reading other books.

Speaking of novels I had never gotten around to reading, I remember when Nineteen Eighty-Four was required reading in high school, which meant, I never read it. Pity, me. I finally did pick up the novel, a few years ago, since at the time one of my daughters was requiredly reading it for an English class. Totally amazing, utterly depressing tale that left me in an empty void of a mood for a few days afterward. That is what I meant by 'totally amazing', that a story could affect my emotions to such a degree. I would think about the line, "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face -- forever", and wonder if that could actually happen in my childrens' future, and knowing that people live that type of existence in varying degrees all over the world today. The ending had left me with such despair, as Winston succumbed to the authoritarian regime. An apathetic old man, left to do the only thing he his love for Big Brother. In the end, we all give up and give in.

Or, maybe we are already doing so today...

Not all stories have happy endings, or should. Those that don't are cautionary tales that we all should heed.

Now, back to making up for lost literary time, reading the story about the world being quickly boiled away, so aliens can plan an intergalactic bypass...nothing depressing about that. And as far as picking up any other "required reading" of late, I did give Moby Dick a try not too long ago. Still haven't gotten past, "Call me Ishmael" yet. Sorry, Mrs. Radle.

1 comment:

  1. As I recall, your first attempt at Moby Dick consisted of saying, "Bye, Ishmael," and shutting the book.

    Don't worry, I didn't read it either. And, what's worse, I faked the ending of Kristen Lavransdottir (the 900+ page novel I read for Mrs. Schobert's class) in my book report because I figured, "After 900 pages, what else could happen?" Oh, nothing except she converts to Christianity and becomes a nun. No biggie, right?